UPDATED: Jay Z
unveiled his newly purchased streaming music service
TIDAL at a star studded event in New York City on
Tuesday afternoon. As expected, the emphasis was on
exclusive content and higher sound
quality, but artist control and
ownership were also a key part of
“Right now they are writing the story for us. We need to write
the story for ourselves,” Jay Z told a secret gathering
of top tier artists dubbed “The Avengers of Music” during
Grammy week in February. Today he began to make good on his
promise with the relaunch of TIDAL, the European based
streaming music service that he just purchased for $56 million.
While short on details, today’s TIDAL launch put artists front
and center. Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki
Minaj. Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Chris
Martin of Coldplay, Usher, Daft
Punk, deadmau5, J Cole, Calvin Harris and Jay Z
himself all strolled onto the stage in New York City signing a
joint “declaration” marking the relaunch of the music streaming
First Artist Owned Streaming Music
After a brief introduction, only Alicia
Keys spoke to the press. “We stand before you today, unified,
introducing TIDAL – the first ever artist owned music
entertainment platform,” she said in a prepared statement. “Our
mission goes beyond commerce and technology… our intent is to
preserve music’s importance in our lives. It’s the world’s true
Exactly what “artist owned” means for the superstars on stage
or the tens of thousands of working musicians who increasingly
rely on income from streaming, remains unclear.
Beyond the exclusives, TIDAL looks and feels much like other
Spotify and other streaming music services. It does offer
video and hi-def playback for $19.99 monthly, in addition
to the standard $9.99 tier. And comments during the
introduction and by Keys hint at enhanced offline playback and
other technical enhancements. Unlike Spotify, TIDAL offers no
free tier after a 30 day trial.
It remains to be seen if that plus some serious star
power is enough to make TIDAL a hit.
Jay Z’s plan already has its critics. Just as the launch
announcement began, two hashtags were trending on
Twitter: #TidalForALL promoted by Jay Z
and TIDAL and #TIDALforNONE, spontaneously
created by his doubters.
Some are questioning creating a service that will further line
the pockets of already hugely successful artists.
“Multimillionaires coming together to bring awareness to a
major cause! Their bank accounts.”
Cast Your Vote
We’ll have full analysis tomorrow morning, but in the meantime.
Cast your vote: What do you think of Jay Z’s
streaming music service TIDAL?